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January 16, 203

Bishop Donald Johnson's deeply troubling January 15, 2004 "Pastoral Letter"
to the Diocese of West Tennessee raises serious questions of freedom of
association and freedom of speech as well as abuse of the office of bishop
by dictating the conscience of Episcopalians in his diocese. Bishop Johnson
wrote his pastoral letter (which he posted on the Diocese of West Tennessee
website) in response to a draft document of an American Anglican Council
(AAC) subcommittee outlining plans for adequate episcopal oversight. Bishop
Johnson falsely accuses the AAC of "deceitfulness and subversive sabotage"
and vows to purge his diocese of association with the AAC. We are deeply
concerned about the individuals, clergy and congregations in West Tennessee
who are affiliated with AAC, and we stand in full solidarity with them. We
urge Bishop Johnson to refrain from punitive action, harassment or
intimidation of the people under his care who uphold historic Anglican faith
and order and whose affiliation with AAC provides them a place to stand.

Bishop Johnson emphasizes his desire to preserve the "church as it currently
exists." Here are the facts about the Episcopal Church USA (ECUSA) as it
currently exists. It is a Church that is no longer in relationship with the
majority of Anglicans worldwide. It is a Church that no longer turns to
Holy Scripture for its guidance. It is a Church that has chosen the ways of
man over the ways of God. It is a church that has undermined the
institution of marriage. It is a church with which many worldwide Christian
denominations have broken relations. It is a church that has lost its heart
and soul and its commitment to making disciples and proclaiming the Good
News of Jesus Christ.

We must ask: Is this truly the Church that Bishop Johnson wishes to

The AAC has long worked for the reformation and renewal of the Church. This
is still our desire. We have NEVER said that we are leaving. We have not
moved anywhere. We are still in full relationship with the worldwide
Anglican Communion and we are resolutely determined that orthodox
Episcopalians will remain so. For years we have spoken of the need for
adequate episcopal oversight. It has been one of our goals, and it will
continue be one of our top priorities. In October, the Anglican Primates
unanimously called for this oversight to be provided within ECUSA, and we
are committed to finding a way for it to be delivered, even if the
leadership of ECUSA is unwilling.

In this time of crisis, we must first and foremost pray; we must repent and
ask God's forgiveness. We must also move forward with the mission and
ministry of the Church -- whatever the cost.

The American Anglican Council is a network of individuals, parishes,
specialized ministries and Episcopal Bishops who affirm Biblical authority
and mainstream Anglican orthodoxy within the Episcopal Church. For more
information on the AAC, please visit http://www.americananglican.org.



January 16, 2003

Contact: Bruce Mason
Director of Communications

Cynthia Brust
Assistant Director of Communications

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